The biggest difference between the two is that a narrative essay includes action, but the descriptive essay does not.Narration follows a logical order, typically chronological.Narration is not always a personal experience, though; a book report is narrative since it typically spells out the plot of the book or story.
In the following paragraph, taken from George Orwell’s famous anti-imperialist essay, “Shooting an Elephant,” see how the act of shooting the elephant delivers immense emotional impact. Notice, too, another truth about description: when time is fleeting, slow down the prose.
What adjectives would you expect to find in a paragraph about an elephant? See how long the few seconds of the shooting can take in this paragraph.
A narrative tells a story about an event, while description creates a picture of a person, place, thing or event for the reader.
A narrative often reflects your personal experience, explaining what happened during some sort of experience.
You can read additional essays by Orwell, the famous author of When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick — one never does when a shot goes home — but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd.
In that instant, in too short a time, one would have thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant.
You should give a reason for your narration or description in that thesis, explaining why this event, person, place or thing is important enough for you to write about.
The thesis might express that you are telling a story because you learned something significant or that you are describing a place that creates a sense of calm in your life.
In contrast, description typically contains no time elements, so organize descriptive essays by some other reasonable means, such as how you physically move around in a space or with a paragraph for each of the senses you use to describe.
Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education.